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5 Message Templates to Appeal to Candidate Priorities in the New Year

The first few months of the new year are a great time for engaging passive candidates and freshening up your messaging templates. Use these five candidate priorities to tailor outreach and increase your response rates.

New year, new candidate engagement strategy

The same pithy catchphrase tends to circulate every January. “New year, new career!” It’s popular because it’s true. According to Career Sidekick, January and February are the best two months of the year to find a new job.  

With the amalgamation of New Year’s resolutions, vision boards, Q1 goal setting, and paid bonuses, candidates are more open to exploratory calls with recruiters early in the calendar year. And talent intelligence is a great tool for identifying candidate priorities and crafting messages that resonate.  

A 2022 McKinsey & Company study segmented workers into two types—traditional and nontraditional—and ranked top career motivators across both groups. Think of a traditional worker as career-oriented and risk-averse, with long tenures at larger companies.Nontraditional workers encompass a variety of personas like freelancers, caregivers, self-employed folks, or full-time employees in nontraditional roles. 

Both groups ranked adequate compensation, meaningful work, workplace flexibility, and a supportive team environment as their top five priorities when considering a new role.  

Where they differed: Traditional workers ranked career advancement as the most important factor, whereas nontraditional workers placed more importance on workplace flexibility. Nontraditionalists also included support for health and well-being as a top priority.  

Excerpt of McKinsey research showing employee experience factors driving appeal for traditional and nontraditional workers, ranking candidate priorities in 2023 as reasons folks took a traditional or nontraditional job, including factors like career development, total compensation, meaningful work, flexibility of the working environment, and support for health and well-being

A quick note on compensation 

Total compensation ranked as the second greatest priority for workers. For some roles, it might make sense to include information on pay in the first outreach message, but we recommend including a compensation range in the job description and having the recruiter discuss compensation during the first call with a candidate.

5 outreach templates based on candidates’ top priorities in 2023

These messages offer a great starting point and can easily be incorporated into a multi-step message campaign to increase engagement.

Use these subject lines and message templates to break through the noise and capture candidate interest. Adapt these templates to reflect company ethos and your personal tone of voice, ensuring that all statements are honest representations of the company and role.

1. Career advancement

Subject: Advance your career @ [company name], [candidate name]! 📈 

Hi [first name], are you open to new opportunities? 

We’re seeking a [position title] to champion our [type of work or product they’ll impact]. 

This role reports into the [hiring manager title] and based on your experience at [current company name], it might be a great next step for you.  

You’ll shape our [role objective] and set the stage for [company name] to expand its impact in the [industry] space. 

I’d like to learn more about your ideal role and what you enjoy in your work. When works best for a short call to share specifics? 

Happy New Year,  

[recruiter name]

2. Meaningful work

Subject: Work across teams as a key member of [company name]’s [role functional area] team! 

Hi [candidate name],  

We’re seeking a [role title] with your skillset to accelerate our ability to [role objective].   

If you gain energy from working on projects that influence the business at large, I’d love to connect about the [role title] opportunity. 

At [company name], we have limited hierarchy and red tape, allowing us to work together and stay agile while moving high-impact projects forward. 

Smaller company = bigger impact. 

Are you open for a short call this week to share specifics? 


[recruiter name] 

Read more about our award-winning product and latest headlines! [company name] in the News: [link]

3. Workplace flexibility

Subject: [company perk #1] + [company perk #2] = better balance 

Hi [candidate name], is now a good time to explore the market? 

We’re hiring a [role title] at [company name], a human-centered [company stage] working to [company mission].  

Your [desired skill] expertise could really help us improve our [role objective]. At [company name], we prioritize a flexible culture and put our people first.  

I’m happy to answer your questions and learn more about what you value in your work.  

Please let me know when works best for a short call or schedule directly via [scheduling tool name] here: [scheduling link] 

With interest,

[recruiter name] 

Read more about our award-winning culture and latest headlines! 

Glassdoor Rating: [add link]

[company Name] in the News: [link] 

4. Supportive team and culture

Subject: Join an inclusive and supportive culture @ [company name]! 🙌 

Hi [candidate name], great work!  

I know it’s a time to be cautious when reviewing new opportunities. With that being said, we’re strategically hiring a [role title] as an integral part of our [functional area] team.  

Most importantly, [company name] prioritizes a culture of inclusion and maintains a [Glassdoor rating] ⭐ rating on Glassdoor. 

I’d like to learn more about you and what you’re looking for in a company. Are you open to a short call next week? 

Looking forward,

[recruiter name]  

5. Supporting health and well-being

Subject: Work across teams as a key member of [company name]’s [role functional area] team!  

Hi [candidate name], what’s an ideal next role for you? 

We’re hiring a [role title] at [company name], a top player in the [industry] space with a mission to [company mission]. 

Your [candidate’s skill] background is impressive, and at [company name] we support our team members with [health benefit] and [well-being benefit].  

I’d love to learn more about the type of work you enjoy and share specifics over a short call. When works best?  

If easier, please schedule time here: [scheduling link] 

With gratitude,

[recruiter name]

Happy hiring in 2023!

The start of the year is a great opportunity to engage passive candidates and test new messaging campaigns. If it’s not clear what motivational driver a candidate values most, craft a nurture campaign with sequential messages that target different drivers.  

Want more? Check out our guide to hiring passive talent.

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